Deep Impact: About The Cast

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Robert Duvall (Spurgeon Tanner) stars in "Deep Impact" as the former Astronaut brought out of retirement by the President to lead a crucial space mission: to break up the comet that's on a direct path to the Earth and minimize its devastation.

An Academy Award ® winner as best actor for "Tender Mercies" (and Golden Globe Award), Mr. Duvall was nominated for best actor for "The Great Santini," and for best supporting actor for "The Godfather" and "Apocalypse Now." He also received an Oscar ® nomination for best actor for his most recent personal triumph, "The Apostle," in which he was the writer, director, star and financier of the dramatic feature through his Butchers Run production company. The film also won three Independent Spirit Awards for best actor, best picture and best direction.

The multi-talented actor also directed and wrote "Angelo My Love," produced "A Family Thing" and the Emmy-nominated television film "The Man Who Captured Eichmann" and wrote the songs for "Tender Mercies."

Some of his many feature film credits include "The Gingerbread Man," "Phenomenon," "Sling Blade," "The Stars Fell on Henrietta," "Rambling Rose," "Days of Thunder," "Colors," "The Natural," "True Confessions," "Network," "The Conversation," "The Godfather Part II," "M*A*S*H," "THX 1138" and "To Kill a Mockingbird."

He earned an Emmy nomination for the television mini-series "Lonesome Dove" and a Golden Globe for the title role in HBO's "Stalin."

Mr. Duvall's primary residence is a horse farm near Leesburg, Virginia, and in addition to being considered an excellent horseman, he is a serious contender on the tennis court. An ardent dancer, Mr. Duvall frequents the tango clubs of Buenos Aires.

Téa Leoni (Jenny Lerner) stars in "Deep Impact" as an ambitious TV news segment producer who inadvertently stumbles on the world's most devastating story.

Leoni was recently seen in Miramax's critically acclaimed comedy "Flirting with Disaster," co-starring opposite Ben Stiller, Patricia Arquette, Mary Tyler Moore and George Seagal.

Leoni is currently starring in the NBC comedy "The Naked Truth." Prior to that, Leoni had starred as the flamboyant and unpredictable "Alicia" in the Fox comedy series "Flying Blind." She also starred in "The Counterfeit Contessa," an original film for Fox Television, which co-starred D.W. Moffett and Holland Taylor.

Born in New York City, Leoni became interested in acting at an early age, influenced by her grandmother, a former Broadway actress. Nicknamed Sarah Bernhardt because of her melodramatic tendencies, Leoni didn't pursue her craft immediately. Instead, she studied anthropology and psychology at Sarah Lawrence and then took time off from school to travel; living in Tokyo, Italy and St. Croix. Upon her return to New York, she went on her first audition.

Competing with thousands of actresses from all over the country, she landed one of the coveted roles in "Angels '88," a "Charlie's Angels" spinoff. Having relocated to Los Angeles for the series, Leoni began to study her craft while waiting out her contract. She went on to appear in the feature films "Switch" and "Indian Love Story," as well as roles in "A League of Their Own," "Wyatt Earp" and 1995's hit action comedy "Bad Boys."

Elijah Wood (Leo Beiderman) stars in "Deep Impact" as the high school student who discovers the new comet during an Astronomy Class field trip. He was recently seen opposite Sigourney Weaver and Kevin Kline in "The Ice Storm."

As one of America's leading young actors, he has moved audiences in "The War," opposite Kevin Costner, was subsequently named 1994's Young Star of the Year by NATO/Showest.

Wood made his feature film debut at the age of eight in "Internal Affairs" with Richard Gere. Working non-stop since, he has starred in "Avalon" for director Barry Levinson, "Radio Flyer" for director Richard Donner, "Paradise" with Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson, "Forever Young" with Mel Gibson, " The Adventures of Huck Finn," "The Good Son" opposite Macauly Culkin, "North" for director Rob Reiner and the film version of "Flipper."

Vanessa Redgrave (Robin Lerner) stars in "Deep Impact" as Téa Leoni's character's mother, long divorced from her father (played by Maximilian Schell) and the editor of a Washington, DC publication, PRESERVATION MAGAZINE.

Redgrave has had an extraordinary career which has been marked by numerous stage and screen accolades, including an Oscar ® ( as best supporting actress for "Julia," five Academy Award ® ( nominations, an Emmy Award for "Playing for Time," and a nomination for "Second Serve," the Cannes Film Festival best actress award for "Morgan and Isadora" and the Venice Film Festival award in 1996 for "Little Odessa."

Redgrave is a member of a distinguished acting family and trained at London's Central School of Speech and Drama and the Ballet Rambert School. Among her numerous film credits are "A Man for All Seasons," "Blowup," "Camelot," "The Devils," "Agatha," "Yanks," "Young Catherine," "The House of the Spirits," "Howard's End," "A Month by the Lake" and "Mission Impossible." Her autobiography was published in 1994 by Random House. Most recently, Redgrave opened to rave reviews starring in the title role of "Mrs. Dalloway."

The internationally acclaimed and award-winning actor Maximilian Schell (Jason Lerner) stars in "Deep Impact" as Téa Leoni's father and long-divorced husband to Vanessa Redgrave, who is about to remarry a much younger woman.

Always looking for a new challenge, Schell recently appeared in the film version of a one character chamber opera, "Through Roses," composed by Marc Neikrug, that explored the cost of surviving the Holocaust.

Schell won the Academy Award ® for Best Actor for "Judgment at Nuremberg," which also earned him the Golden Globe Award and the New York Film Critics Award. He was honored with Oscar ® nominations for "The Man in the Glass Booth" and "Julia," which earned him a second New York Film Critics Award. Some of his additional film credits include John Carpenter's "Vampires," "Left Luggage," "Telling Lies in America," "The Eighteenth Angel," "The Chosen," "A Bridge Too Far," "Topkapi" and "The Young Lions." He wrote and directed the film documentary "Marlene" and the foreign film "The Pedestrian." Both projects were nominated for Academy Awards ®.

Schell won a Golden Globe and Cable Ace Award for his portrayal of Lenin in the HBO mini-series "Stalin," which also garnered an Emmy nomination. He was also nominated for an Emmy for "Miss Rose White." Some of his other American television work includes "The Thorn Birds" (ABC), "Abraham" (TNT), "Young Catherine" (TNT), and "Peter the Great" (NBC).

Morgan Freeman (President Beck) stars in "Deep Impact" as the President of the United States whose job it is to inform the world of the comet's discovery and potential devastation. The three-time Academy Award® nominee ("Street Smart," "Driving Miss Daisy" and "The Shawshank Redemption"), Freeman was seen in the successful thriller "Kiss the Girls," a David Brown production for Paramount.

Freeman can also be seen starring in the Steven Spielberg production "Amistad," as abolitionist Theodore Jackson, and in Paramount's adventure film "Hard Rain" (formerly "The Flood") opposite Christian Slater. Some of Freeman's numerous feature film credits include "Moll Flanders," "Seven," "Outbreak," "The Unforgiven," "The Power of One" and "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves."

In 1993, Freeman made his film directorial debut with "Bopha!"

Leelee Sobieski (Sarah Hotchner) stars with Elijah Wood as teenagers who must make mature, profound choices in the face of a world shaking calamity.

She spent last winter in London where she starred with Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman in director Stanley Kubrick's highly anticipated "Eyes Wide Shut." Also scheduled for release later this year, is the Merchant-Ivory production, "A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries" which called for Sobieski to exercise her fluent French. Shot on location in Paris, she stars as the central character, "Channe," alongside Kris Kristofferson and Barbara Hershey.

Sobieski was discovered by a casting director who suggested she try acting after spotting her in her New York City school cafeteria. Shortly thereafter, she landed starring roles in the telefilms "Reunion" with Marlo Thomas and Peter Strauss, and "A Horse For Danny" with Robert Urich. The series "Charlie Grace" soon followed in which she portrayed Mark Harmon's daughter. Sobieski's additional television credits include "FX," "Grace Under Fire" and "Home Court."

Her feature film debut featured Sobieski as Martin Short's daughter in the Tim Allen starrer "Jungle 2 Jungle" for Disney.

Sobieski, 15, currently lives between New York and Los Angeles with her parents and younger brother. When not filming, she attends school full time. In addition to acting, Sobieski aspires to one day direct. A few of her extracurricular interests include painting, ceramics, poetry, martial arts and horseback riding.

Oscar ® nominee for Best Supporting Actor in "Babe," JAMES CROMWELL (Alan Rittenhouse) portrays a high level government official in "Deep Impact," who receives and acts upon advance information about the comet.

Cromwell recently starred in "The Education of Little Tree" for Paramount Pictures and in "Species 2." He is currently on screen in the critically acclaimed "L.A. Confidential" as the Police Captain Dudley Smith.

He played financier Charles Keating in "The People vs. Larry Flynt," produced by Oliver Stone and directed by Milos Forman. Cromwell also starred as Zefram Cochrane the human scientist who invents warp drive in the last Star Trek picture, "Star Trek: The First Contact."

His most recent television appearances were guest roles in the series "Strange Luck" and "The Client," and as Judge Pounders in the HBO movie "The Indictment," produced by Oliver Stone and starring Mercedes Ruehl and James Woods.

Mary McCormack (Andrea Baker) stars in "Deep Impact" as the shuttle Messiah's Executive Officer. McCormack starred as Mrs. Howard Stern in Paramount's "Private Parts," a film based on the radio star's memoirs. Her upcoming projects include "Life During Wartime," co-starring Stanley Tucci, David Arquette and Kate Capshaw as well as a starring role in the independent feature "Harvest." McCormack scored praise for her role as the tough, dedicated lawyer "Justine Appleton" in the critically acclaimed Steve Bochco, ABC series "Murder One." She appeared in John Hughes' 1994 remake of "Miracle on 34th Street" and opposite Robert Mitchum in the 1995 spoof "Back Fire!"

After graduating from Trinity College with a degree in Comparative Arts, she moved to New York and studied acting at the William Esper Studio. She has worked in many New York theaters, some of which include The Atlantic Theater Company, Alice's 4th Floor and Naked Angels, where she appeared in the premiere of Jon Robin Baitz' "A Fair Country."

Blair Underwood (Mark Simon) stars in "Deep Impact" as the space shuttle's flight navigator. His feature film credits include the upcoming suspense thriller "Asunder," "Gattaca," "Just Cause" and "Set It Off" for which he received an NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture.

Underwood previously served as director, executive producer, writer and star of the dramatic short film, "The Second Coming." It marked the first project for Underwood's joint family venture, Eclectic Entertainment, headed by Underwood, his wife Desiree and his brother Frank, Jr. In addition, he has directed five music videos.

A graduate of the Carnegie-Mellon University, Underwood has long been involved with numerous charitable organizations. As a result of his dedicated support of The Muscular Dystrophy Association, he was honored with the 1993 Humanitarian Award by the Los Angeles Chapter of MDA. He is also co-founder of Artists for a New South Africa (ANSA).

Dougray Scott (Eric Vennekor) stars in "Deep Impact" as the laid back television cameraman assigned to the ambitious "Jenny," played by Téa Leoni. He will be seen in the upcoming family film "Cinderella," opposite Drew Barrymore and Anjelica Huston. His previous feature films were "Regeneration," "Twin Town," "Paris in Love," "Princess Caraboo," "Black Beauty" and "Weak and Wide Astray" for BFI/Channel 4 in Britain.

Trained at the Welsh college of Music and Drama (1986-89), Scott earned the award as The Most Promising Drama Student with his lead roles in "Pericles," "Much Ado About Nothing," "Marat/Sade" and "The Lucky Chance."

He has appeared extensively in Spanish, Scottish, Yorkshire and British television and on stage with The Scottish Theatre Company, Chichester Festival Theatre, Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh and the Hampstead Theatre in London.

He is currently shooting "This Year's Love" to be followed by Bill Forsythe's "Gregory's 2 Girls."

Ron Eldard (Oren Monash) stars in "Deep Impact" as the space shuttle Messiah's Mission Commander . Last year, Eldard gave acclaimed performances in two controversial films ­p; as the abusive stepfather in Anjelica's Huston's directorial debut "Bastard Out of Carolina" (Showtime) and as a vengeful killer in Barry Levinson's "Sleepers." His early film credits also include "The Last Supper," "Scent of a Woman," "True Love" and "Drop Dead Fred."

Eldard's first professional job was as an understudy in "Biloxi Blues" on Broadway. He also played the highly-coveted lead role in Broadway's "On the Waterfront." A former Golden Gloves boxer, Eldard wrote and performed the one-man show "Standing Eight Count" at Naked Angels.

Eldard is also known to television audiences for his portrayal of troubled paramedic Shep on "ER" and starring roles on "Men Behaving Badly," "Bakersfield, P.D." and "Arresting Behavior."

Following "Deep Impact," Eldard completed work on two upcoming films; the independent feature "Delivered" and Disney's "Mystery Alaska." This June, he stars in the HBO New York City war drama "When Trumpets Fade."

Alexander Baluev (Mikhail Tulchinsky) joins the international crew on the space shuttle Messiah as their Russian Astronaut. He was last seen as the sinister thief of Russia's nuclear weapons in Mimi Leder's "The Peacemaker."

Baluev completed his dramatic training at the Moscow High Theatrical School Studio of the Moscow Academy Art Theater in 1980. He began his career on the stage, including six years with the Theater of the Red Army and nine years with the International Theatrical Centre, named after Ermolova. He most recently performed with the Independent Troupe of Alla Siglova.

He has also acted in over fifteen films in his native Russia, including "The Crazy," "The Wife of the Petroleumer," "Richard the Lion Heart," "The Outsider," "The Chasm" and "The Muslim," for which he was honored as the Main Male Performer at the International Film Festival KINOTAVR in Sochi and also won a NIKA (the Russian equivalent of an Academy Award ®. His most recent film credit in his homeland is "The Line of the Life."

Jon Favreau (Gus Partenza) stars in "Deep Impact" as the medical officer on the space shuttle, Messiah. He wrote, co-produced, directed and starred in the successful independent feature "Swingers," which began as a project to showcase himself and his friends. The film earned Favreau a nomination of "Most Promising Actor for 1997" by The Chicago Film Critics Association.

Among the opportunities which immediately followed was a recurring role on the popular situation comedy, "Friends." Favreau played "Peter Becker," a Bill Gates-like billionaire who romanced "Monica," played by Courtney Cox. Born and raised in Queens, New York, Favreau's employment record lists everything from cleaning garage vents to working for a Wall Street investment banking firm to cartoonist. He moved to Chicago to pursue his acting and improvisational comedy where director David Anspaugh cast him in a starring role in TriStar's "Ruby."

This year Favreau will also be seen in the independent feature, "Very Bad Things," starring opposite Christian Slater and Cameron Diaz for director Peter Berg.

Favreau has written the screenplay for "Leatherheads," a film that chronicles the early struggles of professional football in this country, for Universal Pictures production with Jonathan Mostow ("Breakdown") directing.

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